Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tomorrow is AUGUST? Already?

Goodness. We have been hunkered down inside against the heat. The last few weeks have been more like West Texas than NW Arkansas. Yesterday we were 107*... at least! We have been keeping the windows dark with comforters over the blinds, and using three gallon containers of ice set in front of fans to help out the AC. The inside of the house has stayed around 85*, which is about as good as we can expect.
The boys have been working for a neighbor many afternoons. On Thursdays, Dan works at the Wooden Spoon. Sam joins Dan on Fridays. Other than our normal routine of errands and work, the boys haven't been getting in a whole lot of driving time.
Today, the errand routine is taking us on a brief jaunt down a hiway where the posted speed is 70 m.p.h. . Joy. We have to go to Academy Sports so the boys can get the few items they still lack for Trek. That is over in Lowell, a town just south of Bentonville/ Rogers.
With the heat and red-flag burn ban, we haven't been able to use the grill as much as we normally do. We are year round grillers, but in the summer, it saves getting the house so hot the AC can't overcome. When we don't grill, we usually use the slow cooker. I have made a LOT of slow cooker meals lately!
When I bought groceries a few weeks back, I had expected to be able to grill. The food I bought reflected that expectation. So  have had a 10 lb. bag of chicken leg quarters in the freezer. Yesterday, I went ahead and thawed and cooked them. We had slow cooker BBQ chicken. (Toss the quarters in the slow cooker, cook awhile, pour off liquid. Add sauce, continue cooking.) I boiled the majority in my biggest pot. After slipping the skins when they were loose enough, I added onions, bay leaves, and sage to the liquid and cooked until the meat was falling off the bones. I then removed the bones and divided the meat. Tonight, the broth and half the meat will become chicken and dumplings. The remainder was frozen, to become either chicken enchiladas or whatever I decide at the time.

Mr C and I have our 28th anniversary coming up this Friday. Perhaps we will go have dinner at The Wooden Spoon! You have a blessed week, and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

'Lazy American Dream'

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Quiet week

It has been a thankfully quiet week! Hot as southwestern Oklahoma, complete with blast furnace winds, grasshoppers, and 100+ temperatures. No rain in weeks. The grasshoppers have eaten almost all of the garden. We are still getting a few peppers and a few tomatoes. the neighbor sent us over several big bags of tomatoes a few days ago. After making a huge bowl of fresh salsa, I made spaghetti sauce from scratch. Also made use of the accumulating peppers to do another batch of pepper jelly. Tom had said, "You should put a ghost chile in it!". (Naga Bhut Jolokia, the ghost chile, is among the hottest peppers in the world.) So I added ONE to the mix of peppers I had. Dan wore gloves and deseeded it for me. The jalapeno peppers are already VERY hot, having cross pollinated with the ghost chiles. Tom comes back into the kitchen, where my jelly is already starting to cook, and asks, "You didn't really add a ghost chile did you? I was kidding!"
Oops! Now we have some extra spicy pepper jelly!

The power went off at the house this morning. I let the boys sleep in until the last minute, before awakening them to get ready for their library duty. The power was restored just as we were leaving the house.
Dan and Sam are preparing for "Trek", an annual/semi annual trip that the church group the older kids attend in West Texas, sponsors. this will be their first time to get to go. The group hikes into the wilderness and spends time together, with God. The twins have wanted to go with the group for several years, but this is the first time means and opportunity have presented themselves together.

It is less than 2 weeks until Tom and I have our 28th anniversary. I am sure we will celebrate in the usual manner... by doing nothing. Unless we get significant rain between now and then, we can't even cook out on the grill.
The red-flag burn ban in effect has forced me to stop grilling, which is mostly how we survive meals in the summer. Instead, I have been relying on the slow cooker. I don't think the crock-pot has seen in inside of the cabinet for two weeks now!

That's about all from us here. Have a blessed week and Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Back from Ohio

We got home last night from a vacation in Ohio. It was just a regular vacation... visiting my in-laws. We did a lot of sitting on the deck, and some driving with the twins. A little bit less hiking than usual, as Tom twisted his ankle and was laid up a day or two. (He is better.)
Dan and Sam are gearing up for Trek, doing walking and hiking as much as they can. We will be driving down to texas and back in August for that.
Today is a busy one... starting here at the library with their regularly scheduled weekly volunteering. We have already been to the post office. Still ahead are the grocery store, the bank, and the insurance agency.
Along with unpacking the stuff from the trip, laundry, dealing with the abundance of garden produce generated while we were gone.
Oh, the grasshoppers.
The grasshoppers. They are HORRIBLE. The bushes have been stripped to skeletal branches. The corn was devoured. My rosebushes have been chewed on, despite them being fed with a systematic poison/feed that is supposed to prevent insects from munching them.
Maybe I will remember to take pictures when I get back from errands this evening.
Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Beginning of a new phase...

My "babies" turned 16 a couple of weeks ago. Today we went down for them to take their written exams for their learner's permits. (Yes, I know they could of had a license by now... but this is as far as we have gotten.)
We jumped through legal loops, and they are duly permitted to drive now. (With a licensed driver over the age of 21 in the front seat.)
In as little as 30 days, they COULD have their licenses. However, it will likely be quite a few months down the road. We like to be sure they have plenty of supervised driving before turning them loose on their own.
For the past week+, I have been making myself do at least one 'icky" job per day, in addition to regular chores. Both fridges have been thoroughly cleaned. (How did I end up with 3 bottles of horseradish? And a bottle of tartar sauce that expired in 2008?) Under the sink is cleared out and scrubbed. (Found four bottles of bleach cleaner, and didn't know I had ANY). I'm trying to get on top of stuff and stay that way. (My mom inspired me with her shiny house!)
I so dislike coming home to a messy house... and we are fixing to take a trip to Ohio to visit Tom's family. So, a bad chore every day... and before I know it, it will be clean clear down to the sock drawers....

Coming this month... Grandson Tyrel turns FIVE! Hardly seems like it could be five years ago he was born.

I had so many things in mind to put in my blog this week... but here I am, and the thoughts have once again fled away.
I am gradually improving emotionally. I now have had EIGHT days without crying. One day earlier this week, I was crying, and went outside to hang up clothes on the line. The wind was blowing hard... and almost at once, along came a "Bill" butterfly. The black and blue type I associated with him "sending" me. This butterfly was struggling against the wind. Such a fragile thing fighting so hard against the wind. It stopped and "rested" right there beside me on the clothesline. As I moved down the line, it would fly just a few feet farther, and rest again. I noticed it had a very tattered wing, the bottom quarter all but gone on one side. It stayed right there with me. It was like, I don't know? A word to keep trying even though things are so hard. I could tell this would probably be this butterfly's last season, as battered and ragged as it was. But it pressed on. I felt better soon, and it fluttered on its way.

My time at the library is about up. I hope you have a blessed day. thank you for your thoughts and prayers for me and my family.